Thousands of construction workers in Quebec are welcoming their vacation as a breath of fresh air, especially after last hot week and increased activity on construction sites.
• Also read: A well deserved holiday for the workers
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“It’s really the heat that makes us look forward to the holiday, we’ve had a crazy week,” says carpenter Olivier Bélair, who we met at a construction site in Montreal.
As of noon today, nearly 150,000 workers and 20,000 employers in the construction industry across Quebec are on furlough for two weeks.
More than $553 million was paid out to workers in vacation checks.
The newspaper went to a residence of Malo group in Ahuntsic district yesterday to meet workers there, visibly feverish at the dawn of the long holiday.
“The summer holidays are a long time coming. Our last vacation dates back to early January; Personally, I can hardly wait,” says carpenter François Champoux.
This break is all the more deserved this year as activity on construction sites has resumed with a 21% increase in hours worked compared to 2020.
Photo Chantal Poirier
Christal Choquet finished plastering the walls of a residential construction site in Montreal before a well-deserved two-week break.
Stay on land
Like many of his colleagues, Mr. Champoux plans to travel to the countryside with his family.
“We’ll take to the skies in Ontario with bungee jumping, ziplining and rafting. We will also camp with the caravan, it wasn’t too expensive,” he explains.
Despite the lifting of health restrictions, no worker met yesterday had any intention of taking their vacation outside of Canada.
“At the moment, tourist destinations don’t tempt you to break everything with heat records, it’s better to stay here,” believes Marc-Olivier Moulin.
Photo Chantal Poirier
Alexandre Perreault was busy closing a construction site in the Ahuntsic district yesterday under intense heat.
Alexandre Perreault, on the other hand, wants to stay at home.
“I will take the opportunity to rest with my family. Sometimes you don’t have much time at work and life goes by quickly,” he says.
According to a CAA Quebec survey, 65% of Quebecers intend to vacation in the province, while 5% plan to travel to Ontario.
To hell with the cost
For many, the break will pass very quickly. But unlike previous years, few workers tried to prolong the fun.
“Given the shortage of staff, it’s difficult to ask for a third week’s vacation in the summer. Two weeks, you blink, and it’s over,” says Mr Champoux.
And although inflation hit 8.1% in June, that won’t stop workers from traveling and spending to take advantage of the holidays.
“You can’t win back time,” says Mr. Bélair simply, ignoring the bill.